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Yorkshire firms plan to invest for growth as confidence rises

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Yorkshire business leaders are feeling more confident about their future prospects and plan to invest in growth opportunities next year, according to research from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Ninety per cent of those surveyed said they felt more optimistic about their future expansion prospects now compared to this time last year, suggesting the region could benefit from an uplift in business confidence next year.

Over three quarters of respondents also said that they plan to invest in growth opportunities next year using their existing cash reserves or by securing new sources of finance.

The results were gathered at the Lloyds Bank Big Picture event held at York’s National Railway Museum and attended by more than 350 business leaders.

The event brought together Yorkshire’s policymakers, local enterprise partners, academics and business leaders to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing Yorkshire-based companies.

It included a panel debate featuring Assem Allam, chairman of Allam Marine; Roger Marsh, chair of the Leeds City Region LEP; Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council; David Kilburn, executive chairman of MKM Building Supplies and Mel Butler, chief executive of Help-Link.

The research also revealed that the majority of businesses believe they are stronger as a result of the recession, with 83 per cent agreeing that the challenging economic environment has made them more lean and efficient.

Meanwhile, attracting and retaining talent was identified by attendees as a key challenge.

Seventy six per cent felt that a skills shortage could hinder the region’s economic recovery in 2014.

Stephen Harris, area director for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking in North, East and West Yorkshire, said:

“The results show that after several years of caution, businesses are beginning to feel more confident and optimistic about their future trading prospects.

“The fact that the vast majority of leaders polled said that they are planning to invest for growth next year is a clear sign of intent and should act as a catalyst for the region’s economic revival.

“The Big Picture Events are designed to stimulate debate around the steps businesses can take to grow and evolve.

“The commitment of the Yorkshire business community was evident through the lively and thought provoking debate that took place on a range of subjects at the Railway Museum.

“I would like to thank all of our panellists and guests for their valuable contribution and support.”

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Melvin Butler, David Kilburn, Roger Marsh, Stephen Harris, Assem Allam and Tom Riordan

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